The re-emergence of the right hemisphere

3 January 2015

There was a time, not too long ago, when the right hemisphere was not only regarded as non-dominant, but almost of lesser neurological importance than the dominating left hemisphere. But all this has changed.

In a nut-shell, the dominant left hemisphere is the rational measurement-based engineer while the non-dominant right is the big picture, creative architect. The non-dominant right hemisphere emerges, inter alia with motor-sensory function and secondary speech centres, as the seat of creativity and out-the-box innovation, nuance, big picture sensitivity and the strong connection to emotional centres. To boot, individuals with unfettered non-dominant hemispheres obtain higher scores with chance experiments (guessing/willing numbers) than us mere mortal left hemisphere dominants – in the region of 80% versus 50% respectively.

Based on several studies, it appears that the rational left fronto-temporal area dominates and suppresses the right non-dominant. It is only when the left is suppressed, that the eloquence of the right non-dominant flourishes. This situation is seen in individuals with pathology in the dominant left area as well as in individuals whose dominant left function has been temporarily compromised through trans-cranial stimulation studies (Snyder et al). As expected, right dominance manifests as increased creativity, out-the-box thinking, subtlety, innovation and heightened emotion.

The dynamic in regard to right and left hemispheral co-operation appears to be based upon the right ‘getting a hunch’ and urging the left to question this. Thereby the ‘hunch’ becomes activated and the ‘hardcopy’ emerges.

Heterosexual males seem to have the highest incidence of left dominance. Females have the higher left-right communication and thus parity of hemispheres. This is endorsed by increased sizes of bridging structures – the corpus callosum and commissures. Gay males appear to have increased commissural volumes as compared to heterosexual males (but smaller than females). This may be relevant in providing an explanation for the high level of creativity/innovative indices seen in gay males (Shlain).

It makes sense therefore (especially for hetero-sexual males) to quieten down that obsessively driven, rational dominant left, allow the right some space, connect to emotions and innovate! Mindful meditation is one solution, failing which you could always pop along to your nearest neuropsych lab and have your dominant left de-functionalised, even for twenty minutes, with a trans-cranial stimulator!

References (The initial two web links are highly recommended reading)

Snyder A, Bahramali H, Hawker T, Mitchell DJ (2006) Savant-like numerosity skills revealed in normal people by magnetic pulses. Perception 35: 837-845.

Schore AN (2010) Chapter in T. Baradon (Ed.), Relational trauma in infancy (pp. 19-47). London: Routledge.


11 December 2018
The perch on your shoulder

28 November 2018
Harry, Sally and Fay

24 November 2018
Beyond the mire

14 October 2018
Change reaction

5 October 2018
An Ode to Roxy

15 July 2018
Indulge in the virtues of stoicism

24 June 2018
A ghost in the machine

11 June 2018
Death de-mortified

4 June 2018

12 May 2018
A tall story

8 April 2018
Transcending the mist

17 March 2018
Setting the record straight in this brief moment in time

4 March 2018
An authentic desert

11 February 2018
The hateful and the cruel

2 February 2018
Neuroscience is a joke

14 January 2018
To have and to hold

1 January 2018

22 December 2017
The Lethal Cocktail of Fear with an Existential Crisis

9 December 2017
Reflections in a cemetery

3 December 2017
Go forth and multiply

15 November 2017
Reflections of a mirror

29 October 2017
Dumbing down

26 October 2017
Avoid the brain drain

4 September 2017
An authentic lead

30 August 2017

23 August 2017
Respect begins at home

16 July 2017
An awe-full story

3 July 2017
Mushroom soup

2 June 2017
Relativity, relatives and other relationships

29 May 2017
Inflamed and smoked

25 May 2017
An Ode to my Mentor

10 May 2017

27 April 2017

16 April 2017
Lost in an expert fog

12 April 2017
Don't be short-changed

30 March 2017
A brAIve New World

15 March 2017
The problem with Gus

12 March 2017
United in Energy

5 March 2017
Transcending emotions

25 February 2017
In the blink of an eye

25 February 2017
The real story about emotions

27 January 2017
Meditation Re-visited

21 January 2017
As a light to a flame

31 December 2016
Drowning in snake oil

24 December 2016
In the glow of an aura

19 December 2016
Mindfully yours

14 December 2016
Time to transcend the Flat Earth Society

4 December 2016
Prejudice and other violations

20 November 2016
Lighting up the Abyss

12 November 2016
Embrace the Zeitgeist and Transcend

9 November 2016
A Curious Life

8 October 2016
Perhaps we ought to read the stars?

22 September 2016
The truth about truth

27 August 2016
Conscious Integration

21 August 2016
The Toxicity of the Social Media

3 August 2016
Time to Integrate

24 July 2016
I Believe ...

16 June 2016
Crime, punishment and the brain

4 June 2016
The Essence of Effective Leadership

22 May 2016
Engage with the Eloquence of Neuromodulation

15 May 2016
Peer Reviewed Publications: A Trust Issue

28 April 2016
A Cathartic Therapeutic Moment

11 March 2016
Gateway to Consciousness

9 November 2015
Drivers of Success and Effective Leadership

2 November 2015
A Two-Point Solution

20 October 2015
All Black Rugby: The Eloquence of Applied Neuroscience

8 October 2015
In Mitigation of Limiting Deprivation Determinants

20 September 2015
Lamenting our intellectual malaise

13 August 2015
Respectful Intervention

25 July 2015
The Creative Leadership Zone

16 May 2015
Coaching to Pleasure

6 May 2015
Glowing the Void - Thoughts under a May Full Moon

1 April 2015
Context and Integration

7 February 2015
Add some Awe and become Awesome

11 January 2015
Effective Intervention

26 November 2014
Where is consciousness?

11 May 2014
A Strong Determinism

15 February 2014
The Physiology of Mindfulness

16 August 2013
The Triple Wheel Combination Model of Value-based Leadership

1 June 2013
Authenticity and Leadership

13 January 2013
The Neurobiology of Empathy

29 November 2012

8 June 2012
The brain as a deterministic blueprint

21 April 2012
That 'Aha' Moment

17 April 2011
Rewarding Value

28 December 2010
The Dangers of Cyber-space

27 November 2010
Enhancing Gratification

23 June 2010
Systemic Degeneration

14 June 2010
Meaning and Purpose

3 June 2010
Medical Challenges